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Press release: Göttingen University advances to next stage of Excellence Strategy competition

Nr. 190/2017 - 29.09.2017

University can submit full proposals for four Clusters of Excellence

(pug) Göttingen University and its Göttingen Campus affiliates are in the running for grant money from the Excellence Strategy funded by the German Federal and State Governments. In early April of 2017, the University submitted six draft proposals for Clusters of Excellence. It has now been allowed to submit full proposals for four clusters. The topics are “Multiscale Bioimaging”, “Primate Cognition”, “The Making and Unmaking of the Religious” and “Integrative Land Use Science for Sustainable Development”. The full proposals for Cluster grants must be submitted by 21 February 2018; the final funding decision will be announced in September 2018.

“We are proud that our proposals convinced the expert committee,” said University President Professor Ulrike Beisiegel with delight. “This opens up very good chances to compete further in the ‘Universities of Excellence’ application process. Thanks to the University’s long-term strategy with the Göttingen Campus, we are very well-positioned. Now, with another important phase upon us, we have our work cut out. I thank all participating scholars, researchers and scientists for their commitment.”

In the coming months, the University will be preparing full proposals for these four Clusters of Excellence:

The grant objective of the Cluster “Multiscale Bioimaging: From Molecular Machines to Networks of Excitable Cells” is to understand the structural and resultant functional properties of excitable cardiac and cerebral cells across several length scales. New biophysical techniques, most importantly innovative imaging methods, need to be developed to accomplish this objective. The evidence gathered can then be used to devise novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to treating diseases of the heart and brain. Project spokespersons are Professor Tobias Moser, neuroscientist at the University Medical Centre Göttingen, Professor Claudia Steinem, chemist at Göttingen University and Professor Patrick Cramer, molecular biologist at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry.

The grant objective of the Cluster “Primate Cognition – Information Integration in a Complex Social World” is to obtain a better understanding of the mechanisms dictating social behaviour and cognition in humans and non-human primates. To accomplish this objective, behavioural, hormonal and neurophysiological data will be collected from individuals in social interactions observed under a wide range of conditions from the field to the lab, and then evaluated using innovative methods. Professor Julia Fischer, with a joint appointment in primate cognition at Göttingen University and the German Primate Centre, is the project spokesperson. She is being supported by Professor Hannes Rakoczy, Professor Annekathrin Schacht and Professor Stefan Treue.

The Cluster “The Making and Unmaking of the Religious” aims to conduct basic research on the practices of religious border mapping as reflected by various historical periods and cultural contexts. The boundaries between religious and non-religious spheres will be studied alongside inter- and intrareligious differences. Our understanding of current religious reconfigurations should be fostered by an intertwining of global and transregional research with historical comparative perspectives and intense interdisciplinary collaboration between the humanities and social sciences. Project spokespersons are Professor Matthias Koenig, religion sociologist, Professor Hedwig Röckelein, historian, and Professor Ran Hirschl, Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Comparative Constitutionalism at Göttingen University.

The Cluster “Integrative Land Use Science for Sustainable Development (LUSci)” links forestry and agricultural research whilst focusing on global problems of land use, primarily in developing and transition countries. The objective here is to study how to make land use sustainable. The research will cover a spectrum from soil composition to climate influences. Project spokespersons are Professor Edzo Veldkamp, forestry scientist, Professor Bernhard Brümmer, agricultural economist, and the ecologist Professor Kerstin Wiegand at Göttingen University.